As one of Ukip's biggest donors, Stuart Wheeler is helping fund a revolution

But what do we actually know about the exceedingly right-wing septuagenarian?


Once upon a time at the Clermont Club in Mayfair, chaps who were willing trade fortunes on the turn of a card from the baccarat shoe talked of revolution.

Exactly how serious Jimmy Goldsmith, John Aspinall and their gambling chums were, back in the mid-1970s era of industrial unrest, about replacing Harold Wilson’s Labour government with a Francoist military regime remains difficult to gauge.

Yet while their plottings were probably no more than a deranged amusement for Bond villain fantasists, 40 years later a modified version of that pipe dream appears.

Stuart Wheeler, the exceedingly right-wing old cove who uses his spread-betting fortune to bankroll Ukip, may not have been one of the coup d’état schemers.

But he was a member of the Clermont gang, and as the person thought to be the chief facilitator of Douglas Carswell’s defection from the Tories, we now find him playing a pivotal part in realigning British politics in a way that Goldsmith and his Referendum Party did not.

Beyond a talent for cards, his siring of the model Jacquetta, and the rabid Europhobia, little is known about Mr Wheeler. He is said to be as charming as he is shy, yet this is no time for reticence.

Mr Wheeler has used his cash to nurture a populist political movement that seems likely, assuming Mr Carswell takes Clacton, to open a schism in the British right that could change the course of history.

So it would be awfully nice if Mr Wheeler briefly jettisoned the unseen role of No 1 in SPECTRE, and popped into the sunlight to have a chat about his political beliefs.

If Ukip is the democratic force it claims to be, he might care to explain the anomaly that a populist, anti-establishment, jellied-eels revolution in Clacton was hatched in Mayfair, where he continues to wine and dine potential Tory defectors.

Will Nigel Farage call Zac Goldsmith’s bluff?

Might the delectable Ukip-Mayfair  casino chain be strengthened by another link? Among those suspected of flirting with a Carswellian switch is Zac Goldsmith, son of the late Jimmy. who like his old man is known to enjoy the odd game of cards (and I once watched him playing roulette alone on the Aspinall’s cigar-smoking terrace).

While the cerebral likes of Nadine Dorries and Philip Davies have protested their loyalty to the Conservatives, despite their blood clearly running purple, Zac is the one potential renegade to admit he might be willing to jump ship – though only, he says, “if Ukip entirely embraced the environmental agenda”.

It’s quite a stretch imagining Stuart Wheeler and Nigel Farage agreeing to that, while the Ukip electorate remains unpersuaded that climate change exists. But if they mischievously announced an electoral pact with the Green Party, it would be intriguing to see how Zac responded to the calling of his bluff.

Boris is too smart to fall  into Clacton trap

These are not words that come easily, but I feel a stab of sympathy for Boris Johnson.

Whether or not they are acting in league with the Tory high command, the Telegraph’s Peter Oborne and the Spectator editor Fraser Nelson – two influential Tory pundits – have called on that good man Boris to come to the aid of the party by taking on Douglas Carswell.

They point out that he would be the Tory saviour were he to kill the Ukip momentum by winning Clacton, which is true; and they affect to regard it as his duty, which is not true.

With an opinion poll showing a 44-point Carswell lead in Clacton, the momentum Messrs Cameron and Osborne really want killed, you must suspect, is Boris’s.

While he is far too smart to walk into such a blatant trap, it’s a bit rich of them to lay the ground to paint Boris as a selfish coward for refusing a kamikaze mission that would only benefit Ukip and George Osborne’s leadership ambitions. Poor show.

Nothing like a good old-fashioned exposé

Anyone concerned that The Sun on Sunday has moulded itself into a depressingly good-natured and unprurient successor to the News of the World will have been reassured by yesterday’s splash. It concerned the “gay drug romps shame” of the broadcaster Paul Ross.

Pictured looking lost in guilt beside his distressed wife, Mr Ross “confessed” to a mephedrone-fuelled relationship with a man. How the paper came by this interview is anyone’s guess.

David Cameron is exploiting our fears so that he can take away our freedom
The Stop the War Coalition should do us all a favour and disband  

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

QA/BA - Agile

£400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are currently seekin...

PPA Supply Teachers

£121 - £142 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Early Years, KS1 & 2 Prima...

Primary Supply Teacher

£121 - £142 per annum: Randstad Education Luton: Early Years, KS1 & 2 Prim...

Primary Supply Teacher

£121 - £142 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Primary supply teacher Hertford...

Day In a Page

Read Next

Ebola virus in the US: How did the disease ever spread this far?

Sophie Harman

The most common question I am asked is 'How do I become a YouTuber?' This is my reply

Jim Chapman
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?